Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 2/8/16

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Here are choice articles on hot leadership topics culled from the business schools, the business press and major consulting firms, to start off your work week. I’m pointing you to articles about leadership, strategy, industries, innovation, women and work, and work and learning now and in the future. Highlights include the downsides of charismatic leadership, General Mills’ Betty Crocker, Pillsbury cope with baking slump, organizing for breakthrough innovation, culture beyond equality, and predictions for 2016 in the brave new world of talent.

Be sure to look for dots that you can connect.

Note: Some links require you to register or are to publications that have some form of limited paywall.

Thinking about Leadership and Strategy

From Miki Tsusaka: Three Ways for Companies to Succeed in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

“Following on the heels of the third revolution, defined by the rise of technology and automated production, the fourth revolution reflects the rapidly blurring boundaries between humans and machines. It will affect the very foundations of our society: economic growth, education, financial systems, geosecurity, global trade, health, poverty, and much more.”

From Susan Cramm: Why It Makes Sense for Managers to Go Slow to Go Fast

“In thinking about change, I like to use a simple three-part framework: capturing attention, securing approval, and orchestrating adoption. Like any simplifying framework, this has limitations. But it has one primary benefit: It emphasizes the need to go slow to go fast. What do I mean? Investing sufficient time and effort to gain attention and secure approval will increase the likelihood that organizations will adopt change. Rushing through these first two steps in order to get to the active part of change is tempting. And it is often one of the reasons the promise of change remains unfulfilled.”

From Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic: Charismatic leadership has its downsides

“Charisma may help leaders get to power but it can also disguise their incompetence and inability to do the job.”

Industries and Analysis

From the Wall street Journal: For Mining Chiefs, Doomsday Scenarios Could Become Reality

“Mining executives, welcome to your worst-case scenarios.”

From Mike Hughlett: General Mills’ Betty Crocker, Pillsbury cope with baking slump

“Sales of Betty Crocker baking mixes, a classic General Mills offering, have been in the dumps for over two years. Another major part of the General Mills baking business, its Pillsbury refrigerated dough line, has experienced weakness, too. Indeed, the entire U.S. baking mix market has been eroding.”

From Suzette Parmley: Tailors preserving a dwindling art form

“But his craft is dying, and others like Martins, 56, who spent years, if not decades, honing their craft in their native countries and taking it to the United States are disappearing. There were as many as 65 tailors at Boyds in the late 1970s and early ’80s. Today, there are 30.”

Innovation and Technology

From McKinsey & Company: Organizing for breakthrough innovation

“Roche, the worldwide pharmaceutical and diagnostics group based in Basel, Switzerland, has enjoyed an innovation run that would make most other large companies envious. On the back of an impressive record of scientific discoveries, the company is today the acknowledged leader in the industry’s most profitable category, cancer drugs. Over the past decade, its shares have been among the best performing in the sector. CEO Severin Schwan declares that Roche’s continued success will depend on its ability to replenish its pharma and diagnostics pipeline through further innovation breakthroughs. In this wide-ranging interview, he talks with McKinsey partner Joel Claret about how Roche structures its R&D, why he prizes employees who make tough decisions, and what investors with a long-term mind-set bring to the party.”

From the Economist: Machine earning

“BILL BURR, an American entertainer, was dismayed when he first came across an automated checkout. ‘I thought I was a comedian; evidently I also work in a grocery store,’ he complained. ‘I can’t believe I forgot my apron.’ Those whose jobs are at risk of being displaced by machines are no less grumpy. A study published in 2013 by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne of Oxford University stoked anxieties when it found that 47% of jobs in America were vulnerable to automation. Machines are mastering ever more intricate tasks, such as translating texts or diagnosing illnesses. Robots are also becoming capable of manual labour that hitherto could be carried out only by dexterous humans.”

From Wharton: Are You Brainstorming the Right Way for Innovation?

“Conventional wisdom says brainstorming works best when people from different departments or groups come together to think of new ideas or solve problems. But research from Sarah Kaplan, senior fellow at Wharton’s Mack Institute for Innovation Management and a professor of strategic management at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, shows that diversity is not enough. What is also necessary is in-depth expertise of the topic at hand. Those two factors together result in truly innovative ideas and also yield the highest economic value.”

Women and the Workplace

From Nina Simosko: Culture Beyond Equality

“For many years, I have championed a focus on women leaders, gender diversity and the way that leveraging female talent can drive innovation and profitability. I firmly believe that while equality is important, it is just one element in a broader mix of initiatives that needs to be addressed in parallel. Equality is not just the right thing for people, it’s the right thing for business, innovation, and profitability. Recent research by Silvia Anne Hewlett reveals a remarkable correlation between inclusive leadership, innovative output, and market growth – what she calls a ‘speak up culture’.”

From Suzanne Venker: Does America Need More Sheryl Sandbergs?

“At The World Economic Forum last week in Davos, Switzerland, Sandberg lamented the lack of women who hold top positions in government and business. This discrepancy begins in the home, she says, with a ‘toddler wage gap.’ It seems we parents are causing the pay differential between men and women by—Are you ready?—teaching our boys to take out the trash and teaching our girls to set the table.”

From Betsey Guzior: New study by DDI shows a gender gap in personality traits might lead to a leadership gap

“A new study by Development Dimensions International, a global talent management consultancy, shows that men and women possess many of the same traits that it takes to become high-level leaders. A difference emerges, however, when it comes to three personality factors that favor men over women. And it’s the gap in these traits that might translate into fewer women being moved up the leadership ladder.”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From Louise Lee: Should Employees Design Their Own Jobs?

“A scholar who studies job crafting says you may be less stuck in your job than you think.”

From China Gorman: The True Cost of On-Demand Talent

“WorkMarket has just published a new survey analysis, the 2016 Corporate On-Demand Talent Report. It’s got some really great information about ‘On-Demand’ talent in our changing economy. And while a definition of ‘On-Demand’ was never given, it’s clear that it means more than the traditional blue collar or retail ‘temp’ definition. It clearly also includes professionals of all stripes who either prefer a more fluid and flexible on-demand employer-employee relationship, or who have been displaced and who can’t seem to find new, satisfying full-time employment.”

From Josh Bersin: The Bold New World of Talent: Predictions for 2016

“2016 will bring dramatic changes in the world of Human Resources, Learning, Talent Management, and HR technology. Our latest report, Bersin by Deloitte Predictions for 2016, discusses ten predictions for the year ahead.”

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

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Innovation mythology favors the lone genius. Innovation history favors teams and time.

Do you want to read 100 books this year?

It’s possible to read a hundred books this year. If that’s a good goal for you, here’s how to achieve it.

By and About Leaders: 2/2/16

Pointers to pieces by and about Christopher Cabrera, Sebastian James, Todd Sachse, Tony Antoci, Bill Walsh, Bill Parcell, and Pete Carroll.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 2/3/16

Pointers to posts by Chris Edmonds, Mary Jo Asmus, Julie Winkle Giulioni, Jesse Lyn Stoner, and Nina Simosko.

Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 2/5/16

Pointers to stories about Apple, ALDI, Luvo, Skull Shaver, and Amazon.

Writing well gives you the edge in business and in life. If you want to get a book done, improve your blog posts, or make your web copy more productive, please check out my blog about business writing. My coaching calendar for authors and blog writers currently has time open. Please contact me if you’re interested.

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What People Are Saying

Rosey James   |   08 Feb 2016   |   Reply

I enjoy the efforts you have put in this, thank you for all the great articles.

Wally Bock   |   08 Feb 2016   |   Reply

Thanks for the kind words